Movie Review: Everybody Wants Some! (2016)

Everybody Wants Some! (2016)
Written and Directed by Richard Linklater

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In 1993, Richard Linklater wrote and directed the cult classic Dazed and Confused, which remains as one of the most quintessential high school coming-of-age stories ever told on screen. To duplicate that feeling is nearly impossible as cult classics garner their names from being plucked out of obscurity and attaining a quality to them that just hits the nail on the head. Fast forward and now Linklater is a prominent director who is just coming off the heels of his highly successful and critically acclaimed film Boyhood and is ready to relax a bit and give audiences another perspective on growing up. In his new film Everybody Wants Some!, the story follows freshman Jake (Blake Jenner) and his first weekend at a fictitious college in Texas circa 1980. He moves into the baseball team’s off-campus house, it can loosely be described as a house, it’s more like a place where guys store some prized possessions, a few paisley adorned shirts, and a lot of beer.

Immediately Jake, who is the newbie pitcher of the team, encounters both a sense of comradery and hostility towards him. Although the team welcomes him with open arms, they try to sniff him out like a pack of wolves deciding whether or not they want to allow a wolf into their pack.

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The house is filled with every character under the book and these guys are truly what make the movie fun to watch. There is McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), the badass homerun hitter of the team, who dons a glorious Burt Reynolds-like mustache and detests pitchers. Finn (Glenn Powell) he’s that one guy in college who is always philosophizing anything and everything, although it can be annoying to his teammates it serves him well with the ladies. Then there is Dale (J. Quinton Johnson), the all-around cool laid back guy and Roper (Ryan Guzman), the ring leader of the group. Willoughby (Wyatt Russell) the stoner who always has some interesting point of views, of course there had to be one, and Nesbit (Austin Amelio) the loud-mouth who likes to challenge and bet guys to do dumb stuff (basically a typical boy).

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Along with Jake, there are a few more freshman just like him trying to find their place within the team, Plummer (Temple Baker) who has the funniest voice and is a bit dim-witted and Brumley (Tanner Kalina) the sensitive guy who doesn’t seem to get a lot of jokes, he’s sort of like the virgin of the group. The film takes all these types of guys and throws them together to get to know one another before the beginning of the school year.

The guys have their usual party spot, Sound Machine, which plays the coolest Disco jams and the spot where pretty much everyone hangs out and dances. Yes, everyone there is fresh off the Saturday Night Fever disco wave, equip with hot dance moves and tight pants. The guys also move around to various clubs and parties, from punk to country western ones. At each place, they try to fit in with their clothes and hair, which seems apt for college because everyone is still trying to figure out their identity and where they fit in.

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This film is essentially about that struggle, the good and the bad, and the fun that comes with trying to figure one’s self out and where one fits into their world. Linklater conveys that truth in his film, that college is the time we make some of the most eventful decisions of our life. From friends to careers, it is a pivotal time that is the beginning of construing our future lives. The conversations that happen in this movie aren’t the most prolific, but they’re realistic and that is what has always set Linklater’s films apart from others.

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The actors in the film worked well together and blended and mad sense. I loved that there were no big name actors in it, just guys getting started in their careers, which in a way reflects the characters themselves. Powell was one of my favorites, I loved him in Scream Queens, and he is equally fun to watch in this film, he definitely has that “it” factor going from him. Jenner did really well, considering this was his first big-screen film and he was someone picked out of obscurity with the reality show The Glee Project, it has been awesome to see him grow as an actor.

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What I would have liked a bit more from the film was to see more depth with the characters. I wanted them to be fleshed out a bit more and dig just a little deeper. Regardless, I enjoyed the film, it really isn’t about anything crazy or chaotic, there are no action sequences or overly dramatic ones, but it was still fun to watch. I am a fan of movies where characters are trying to figure themselves out and their place in the world, whether they be 18 or 45, audiences can always relate on some level and that is what I took away from this film. I think if you enjoy nostalgia and an overall fun time at the movies, then this is one for you.

Also posted on Pink Egg Media

}} Melissa

Movie Review: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016)

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016)
Directed by Kirk Jones
Written by Nia Vardalos

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In the film, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, we are once again brought into the realm of the over-bearing, meddling, and somewhat smothering Portokalos family. Regardless of all their intrusions into the business of every single family member, they remain a close-knit and loving family. The original was made 14 years ago, that’s eons in Hollywood years between sequels, and gave the film a good enough timeframe from which to build a story. The patriarch of the family Gus (Michael Constantine), would love this antidote because the word eon is derived from the Greek word “age,” and can mean many years, even billions of years that can’t be measured. In the film, he continually reminds his grandchildren that almost every single word in the English language is derived from a Greek word. Once again we are thrown into their world, Toula (Nia Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett) are now married with a teenage daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris), ready to head off to college and her family remains much unchanged.

As mentioned before, Gus still enjoys reminding everyone that the Greeks are the best, their language is the most exemplary, and he continues to use Windex for pretty much every use in the book. He even tells Paris, just as he did Toula, that she needs to find a nice Greek boyfriend and get married soon.

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Toula works at the family restaurant, The Dancing Zorba, yes it’s still up and running, but this time around she devotes a lot of time to her parents who are aging and need her help even more than before. Ian is the principal of Paris’ high-school, to her dismay, and he is now completely assimilated into Toula’s Greek way of life. In other words, he totally gets how they are and doesn’t take offense to their intruding ways. When Ian and Toula go on a date to spice up their dull marriage, they make out in their car for old time’s sake and without a hitch her family shines a flashlight into the car and tries to see what they’re doing, but Ian doesn’t even blink an eye. It’s just another day with the Portokalos family to him.

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The film centers much on two story lines, one is Paris wrestling with the decisions about what college to attend. Should she stay local in Chicago or go away to her dream school? She also is dealing with her Greek family and their way of being just like Toula had to contend with in the first installment. Secondly, Gus finds his old marriage license and realizes that it was never signed off by the Priest who married them in Greece. This unsigned document means that he is not legally married to Maria (Lainie Kazan) and when he ends up telling the whole family they flip out. Maria is infuriated and wants Gus to purpose to her all over again and decides she also wants to get remarried and have the wedding of her dreams. The story that ensues from here is the family trying to pull a wedding together on a shoe string budget and the craziness that comes with planning a wedding.

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I thought the film was enjoyable and something that can be seen with the entire family. There is no denying that the jokes are a bit corny and somewhat overused. How many times can we see the old Greek grandmother do something funny or kooky? But still some of the humor is quite funny and really most of it came from Gus. I thought he was the best character in the whole film and he carried it from beginning to end. At times I laughed with him and others he made my heart ache a bit, which I think Constantine acted to perfection.

I also enjoyed Kampouris who played the teenage angst card well, yet she remained quite loveable. I was rooting for her throughout the film and I loved that they made her into a strong female character and not a boy-crazy teenager. She continuously reminded herself that she was a strong Greek girl who comes from a long line of resilient Greek women and to act accordingly, never compromising her beliefs or self.

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The film I wouldn’t say is the best I have ever seen, nor is it the worse, but I think it would appeal to anyone who enjoyed the first one. This is a great movie for a family night out or a fun date night flick. And if you like Windex as much as Gus does, then you will really like this movie.

Also posted on Pink Egg Media

}}Melissa